Security issues: PM presses aide to engage with pliant Taliban

Nawaz Sharif says Karachi operation will continue for the sake of peace.

Zahid Gishkori/sumera Khan January 17, 2014
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the green signal to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday to politically engage with those Taliban groups that are willing to negotiate with the government. At the same time, he pledged that the government would continue its operation against violent law breakers and criminal outfits in Karachi.

The twin moves came following a detailed briefing by the interior minister on the law and order situation in the country and Karachi in particular.

“Every effort will be made to get more success in moulding Taliban’s otherwise unyielding stance on peace talks,” the prime minister said.

PM Nawaz also directed Chaudhry Nisar to hold meetings with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl head Maulana Fazlur Rehman, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf head Imran Khan, Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah and all political parties to get the talks initiated as soon as possible.

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During Thursday’s meeting, Chaudhry Nisar gave a detailed briefing on the ongoing Karachi operation. Nawaz lauded the progress made through the operation against criminals in Karachi. He insisted that his government was fully committed to restoring peace in the metropolis. “Results have started to become visible in the ongoing operation and it should continue at all costs.”

Mediators wanted

Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the government would welcome any individual who could play his part in holding talks with Taliban.

Talking to media persons after attending a function in Pak-China Centre, the minister said it was a collective decision to hold talks with the Taliban and any individual, whosoever, including Khurshid Shah would be welcome to play a role in holding talks with the group and its affiliates.

National security policy

Chaudhry Nisar announced that the national security policy was in the final stages and once it was ready it would help the government to combat militancy and eradicate extremism.

The minister said this in his one-hour discourse to 170 senior civil and military officers, including 14 from other countries, participating in the national security and war course at the National Defence University (NDU).

Nisar said “our enemy is vague and divided” and “our security policy is proactive in nature” which will help address the problems that are being faced by the country.

He said the new security policy will have three components — secret, strategic and operational.

He said the government initiated the dialogue process with the militants in light of decisions taken during the all parties conference, but regretted that a drone strike disrupted the process.

“The process of dialogue was started in all earnest with a genuine desire for peace,” he added. “The government has again started the process of dialogue with the militants.” He said we want a durable solution of the menace of terrorism and the use of force will only be our last resort.

He said it has been categorically communicated to the US that drone strikes are counter-productive and must immediately be stopped. This continues to be an irritant in the relationship between Pakistan and the United States, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2014.


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